How to Get Rid of the Smell of Cat Urine

By Ida Tolen

Cat urine has an extremely powerful, persistent and unpleasant odor. When cats urinate on carpets or rugs, it can be very difficult to remove that offensive cat urine smell. You need to remove the odor and urine stain completely because cats will usually urinate in the same spot again. You can use a commercial cat odor and stain remover to clean your carpet or make your own effective homemade cleaning solutions that will get rid of cat urine smell.

Because cat urine contains proteins the smell is much stronger and requires cleaners that can break down and remove the protein. The presence of ammonia in the urine also contributes to the smell, and you should avoid using ammonia-based cleaners found in most over-the-counter products. If you don't care to buy the special cleaners equipped with enzymes to eliminate proteins, you can use a few household products to sufficiently remove cat urine odors.

Step 1

Locate the cat urine stain and smell before cleaning the affected areas. It is easy to spot fresh urine stains, especially on carpets, but it might be difficult when the urine dries. For dried urine, use a black light to find these stains (see tip below).

Image: Roman Rozenblyum/Demand Media

Step 2

Remove a fresh stain as quickly as possible. For carpeted areas, place some paper towels over the urine and BLOT by pressing down so that the urine is absorbed by the towel. Do NOT RUB the stain because it will only make the stain larger and work the urine into the fibers, making it more difficult to remove. Repeat the process of blotting the urine with towels to absorb it.

Image: Roman Rozenblyum/Demand Media

Step 3

Combine equal parts solution of water and vinegar in a bowl. Pour a sufficient amount of the mixture onto the carpet and allow it to penetrate the carpet fibers. Use paper towels to absorb the excess mixture. Alternatively, you can utilize a wet vacuum for this. Allow the affected carpet area to dry completely. White vinegar eliminates both cat urine stain and odor. That's because acids neutralize basic chemicals such as ammonia, the main offender in cat urine.

 Image: Roman Rozenblyum/Demand Media

Step 4

Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda, an effective odor neutralizer, on the carpet area. Mix a half cup of hydrogen peroxide with 2 tsps. of liquid detergent in a bowl. The hydrogen peroxide kills the bacteria that contributes to the urine smell. If you don't have hydrogen peroxide, laundry stain removers with "oxy" power are a good substitute. Pour this solution over the affected area. Let the mixture dissolve in the baking soda.

Image: Roman Rozenblyum/Demand Media

Step 5

Take the scrub brush and work the mixture into the stain. Wear the gloves while scrubbing the area.

Image: Roman Rozenblyum/Demand Media

Image: Roman Rozenblyum/Demand Media

Allow the area to dry thoroughly before removing any dried baking soda and mixture with a vacuum.


TIP: Blacklights allow you to spot urine stains not visible to the naked eye. Darken the room completely, then shine the blacklight over the spot where you believe the urine stain to be. The stain will visibly glow. Outline the soiled area in chalk, as the Humane Society recommends. This will help you spot them again after you turn the lights on again.